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Monument details

HER Number:TR 02 NW 75
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1200 to 1968. 12th and 14th century, the nave and aisles under one roof and chancel with North chapel. Romney was one of the early minsters founded in Kent before 700.

Grid Reference:TR 6035e 1252e
Map Sheet:TR61SW

Monument Types

  • MINSTER (CHURCH, Early Medieval or Anglo-Saxon - 600 AD to 700 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1100 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1278132: CHURCH OF ST CLEMENT

Full description

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Description from record TR 02 NW 5 :
[TR 03492519] St. Clement's Church [NAT] (1) Old Romney Church is mainly late C12th and C14th additions. (2) In normal use. (3) Parish Church of St. Clement, Grade I, Old Romney. C13th, C14th and C15th with alterations of C19th and 1930, restored 1959-68 by Anthony Swaine. (For full description see list). (4) St Clement's Church, Old Romney. A characteristic outline visible from far off, the tall, steep nave roof vying with the south west tower and low shingled spire. Nave and aisles under one roof, chancel with separate north chapel. Rubble much patched with brick. Datable features are C13th and of the most rustic kind. The narrow chancel arch has a round head which looks C18th. Beside it, from the nave into chancel and north chapel, are various squints, substitutes for a wider chancel arch. One remembers the church because it is delightfully unrestored. (5) The workmanship is curiously primitive. The original chancel left no indications to its extent, but was probably two-thirds the length of the present one. (6) The main entrance on the north, sheltered by a porch is very unusual, although there are other examples of such churches in Kent. (7)

The dedication of this church to St Clement's, and the founding of a mint and borough here in c. A.D. 1000 suggest that a church was first built here in the 'Danish' period of the early 11th century.

On the north side of the nave, one can see some 'Herringbone' work and a blocked ? early Norman round-headed window (over the N. porch east slope roof). This perhaps suggests a date for the present nave of c. 1100. The stub end-walls at the west end of the chancel may be of the same date, indicating a simple Norman two cell church, albeit with an unusually wide nave. Reused chip-carved Caen stone fragments of early Norman date can be seen in the south-west buttress.

As with many Romney Marsh churches, the ground on which the church was constructed was often subject to differential settlement. This has meant there are many irregularities in the walls/and later repairs) as well as many later buttresses. The small low tower on the south-west, as well as the small south aisle were perhaps added at the very end of the 12th century. They both connect with the nave via plain pointed arches, though the tower was perhaps built first (there are the remains of an ? external plinth on its east side). Also a Caen stone lancet in the upper E. wall of the tower. The short north aisle, at the east end of the nave is later in date (13th century) having bar-stopped chamfers on the archway connecting it with the nave and a west lancet with rere-arch. The chapel (? of Our Lady) to the east of this aisle was perhaps first built at the same time in the 13th century when the whole of the east end of the church was rebuilt. It has a late 13th century lancet in its N. wall. The north-east corner of the chancel, with its two angle buttresses, is certainly of the 13th century, and an original north jamb (in Caen) for the east window is still visible. The south-east corner of the chancel was, however, rebuilt at a later date (the gable above is in c. 18th century brick), and the window of the south side of the chancel is entirely rebuilt in 19th century Bathstone. The south-east chapel (? dedicated to St Katherine) was also perhaps first built in the 13th century, but this too was rebuilt at a later date, and has added later buttresses. The west wall of the nave seems also to have been rebuilt (or refaced) and given a sloping plinth in the 13th century, while there is also a 13th century north doorway of Caen stone into the nave.

The unusual font with a Purbeck marble bowl on an octagonal stem and four round shafts with elaborately moulded and carved capitals and bases, is probably late 13th century, though it may have been 12th century in origin.

The church was thus broadly in its present form by the end of the 13th century. Early in the 14th century, however, a series of new windows, mainly with reticulated tracery, were inserted into the walls, also a new west doorway. There is a three-light window, and two-light windows into the north and south aisles; also a two-light chancel east window, and a three light window into the south-east chapel.

There are also two fine inserted arches from the chancel into the north and south chapels (the jambs of both have later grooves cut in them for screens). The semi-octagonal jambs terminate in large unusual stops.

Over the chancel is a simple collar, rafter and soulace roof (perhaps 13th century) beneath which was a plaster ceiling (removed in 1929). The side chapel and the north aisle all have scissor-braced roofs. These probably date from the early 14th century. Over the nave is a fine 3-bay crown-post roof, perhaps of the 15th century, while the south aisle has a, perhaps contemporary, low-pitched shed roof. On top of the tower is a shingled spire, the frame for which is also perhaps late medieval. The bell-frame in the top of the tower, holding 3 bells, is c. 17th century, as is probably the block-tread stair leading up to it.

The 3-light east window of the N.E. (? Lady) Chapel is late perpendicular with a four-centred arch over. It was probably inserted soon after the archbishop's visitation in 1511. This chapel still has a medieval stone mensa for its altar (restored to this position in 1929). In the floor of this chapel, and possibly in situ is a fine medieval gravestone.

Leading from the south-west corner of the N.E. chapel (and re-exposed in 1929) is the entry into the Rood loft. It still has a wooden door frame, and several architectural fragments are inside. The Rood loft and screen (repairs to the former are documented in 1527) have gone, but a simple screen at the west end of the south chapel is probably early 16th century and perhaps went with the Rood screen.

The church continued to give structural problems in the Post-medieval period, and several brick buttresses (particularly for the N.E. and west end of the S.E. chapels) had to be added. The north porch has rebuilt 18th century brick (Flemish bond) walls, and the nave still contains a west gallery and box pews, and a round 18th century chancel arch.

No major 19th century Restoration took place, but in 1929-30, a major Restoration was carried out, and the box-pews were cut down and reformed. All the late 18th century wainscotting was removed from the chancel (and E. wall of the nave), and the plaster ceilings were taken out. The later history of the church is well documented in Anne Ropers guide. (10)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:
6/92 Church of St Clement 9.6.59 GV I
Parish church. C13, C14 and C15 with alterations of C19, and 1930, restored 1959-68 by Anthony Swaine. Mixed stone with pebble-dashed mortar. Upper part of east gable end of chancel rebuilt in brick. East gable end of nave weatherboarded. Plain tile roofs. Wood shingles to spire. Nave. West tower to south aisle. Narrower chancel with north and south chapels, chapels stopping short of east end. Small north-east chapel to nave, projecting to north. Walls of chancel chapels Continuous with south aisle and nave chapel. North porch. Nave: West end: C13. Battered plinth. Gable recessed above wall-plate. 3-light C14 reticulated west window extending above wall-plate with stonework of gable padded out round head. C13 two centred arched chamfered west doorway with broach stops and scroll-moulded hoodmould with turned ends. South-west tower: C13. Probably integral with nave but possibly built within south aisle later in century. Projects slightly to west with renewed quoins. Single stage with battered plinth. Diagonal south-east and south-west buttresses on moulded plinths. Splay-footed octagonal spire. Narrow chamfered rectangular north window, small triangular-headed west window, narrow rectangular brick south window and chamfered east lancet, all beneath eaves. Brick relieving arch half-way down west side. West doorway with possibly original chamfered pointed- arched stone head and C19 brick jambs. South aisle and south chapel: C13. No plinth. Gabled, roof much lower than nave and slightly lower than chancel. 4 south and one east buttresses. One C19 2-light C14- style south window with original cill. C19 three-light C14-style reticulated east window with hoodmould and cavetto mullions, bases of which may be original. Blocked 2-centred arched stone doorway now less than 5 feet high at west end of south elevation, partly covered by south- east tower buttress. Chancel: C13. Tall battered plinth. Single south buttress and north-east angle buttress. C19 cusped 2-light south window. C19 two-light C14-style east window with hoodmould and with stone jamb of an earlier window immediately to north. No north window. North chancel chapel and north-east nave chapel: C13, possibly of 2 periods. Large brick diagonal north-east buttress and broad brick north buttress. East window placed assymmetrically to south, of 3 lights with cavetto mullions, segmental head and hoodmould, inserted soon after 1511 (Anne Roper, The Church of Saint Clement 0ld Romney 1983). Small chamfered north lancet to chancel chapel. C19 two-light C14-style north window to nave chapel and chamfered west lancet. North elevation of nave: no windows. North porch: On a C14 site ( Anne Roper, Op. Cit.) but apparently C19. Brick in Flemish bond on chamfered brick plinth, with tile-hung gable. C19 wood double doors, square headed, each with fielded panels. C13 chamfered pointed-arched inner doorway with inward-turning scrolls to hoodmould. Interior: Structure: 2-bay south arcade to nave of 2 unchamfered pointed arches springing from rectangular piers with chamfered imposts. Broad pointed chamfered arch to north-east nave chapel with rolled chamfer- stops and chamfered imposts. Narrow rendered unmoulded round-headed chancel arch, possibly C18. Single opposed arches to north and south chancel chapels, both pointed, chamfered and springing from semi-octagonal piers with scroll-moulded, undercut imposts and chamfer-stopped bases. No arch between two north chapels. Plain imposts to chamfered pointed arch between south aisle and chapel. Two low, narrow unchamfered tower arches springing from plain imposts, one to south aisle and one, blocked, to nave on north side of tower. Roof: crown-post roof to nave; 4 trusses, 3 with tall rebated crown-posts with broach stops, 2 to centre with moulded cambered tie-beams and short pendant posts with solid braces. Truss against west wall cut through either side of window. Sous-laces. Ashlar- pieces to moulded cornice. Chancel roof has common rafters with morticed collars, sous-laces and ashlar-pieces. North chapels roofed together, with apex central to north chancel chapel. Moulded tie-beam. Common rafters with asymmetrical scissor-braces. Ashlar-pieces to north, and to south side of nave chapel. Moulded north cornice. South chapel roof C17 or repaired in C17; scissor-braced common rafters with ashlar-pieces and chamfer-stopped wall-plate to south. South aisle has lean-to side-purlin roof internally. Fittings: No stoups or piscinae. Stone seating to south-west corner of nave and south wall of south chapel. Chamfered pointed-arched hagioscope, largely renewed, between nave and chancel to north of chancel arch. Chamfered cambered-arched squint between nave and chancel to south of chancel arch. Rectangular opening between nave and north chancel chapel, possibly entrance to rood-loft stairs, containing small wood doorway to east with pointed arch and solid spandrels. Fragment of stone keel moulding within opening to north. Loose moulded stone fragments, one with dog-tooth ornament. Medieval altar stone in north chancel chapel, with consecration crosses. Early C14 rectangular font in south-west bay of nave arcade with deep black marble bowl on rectangular, chamfered, roll-stopped central pillar. Circular column to each corner with bell capital and base under square abacus, the latter supported by tiny figures, heads and leaves. Remains of C15 wood screen between south aisle and chapel. Stairs to tower of 2 parallel beams with pegged triangular treads, unusual and possibly C17. C17 Communion table. Early C18 altar rails. Early C18 reredos with lightly-moulded base and cornice and 4 pilasters with raised panels between them bearing Lords Prayer, Creed and Decalogue. C18 hexagonal pulpit with raised and fielded panels, formerly a 3-decker (Anne Roper, Op. Cit.) Lower desk, also with fielded panels, now to north side of nave. Late C18 gallery across west end of nave on 4 Doric columns, containing tiers of boarded seats with shaped arm-rests. An unusual survival on the Marsh. 4 blocks of C18 box pews to nave and south aisle, with fielded panels. Low late C18 chinoiserie gates to south aisle (rest now in Church of St George, Ivychurch. (Anne Roper, Op. Cit.)). 6 text boards; 2 oval, 4 rectangular. Royal arms 1800 over chancel arch. Chest, possibly Dutch, inscribed "Anna Diercks Anno 1768". (J. Newman, Building of England Series, West Kent and the Weald, 1980. Anne Roper, The Church of Saint Clement, Old Romney, 1983). Listing NGR: TR0209123556 (12)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> JBAA NS 30 1924 41 (OS Card Reference). SKE45003.

<3> F1 CFW 20-MAR-63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42671.

<4> The Church of St Clement Old Romney 1983 (A Roper) (OS Card Reference). SKE50270.

<5> DOE(HHR) Dist of Shepway Kent April 1985 47-48 (OS Card Reference). SKE41063.

<6> Bldgs of Eng - W Kent and the Weald 1980 441-442 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE37679.

<7> Arch Cant 37 1925 200-202 (FC Elliston Enwood) (OS Card Reference). SKE35053.

<8> Arch Cant 13 1880 408-418 (S Robertson) (OS Card Reference). SKE34697.

<9> Field report for monument TR 02 NW 5 - March, 1963 (Bibliographic reference). SKE5046.

<10> Tim Tatton-Brown, 1993, Church Survey - St Clements Church. (Unpublished document). SKE7581.

<11> Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown), 1993, Old Romney, St Clement: Diocesan church survey (Unpublished document). SKE29457.

<12> English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Map). SKE16160.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: JBAA NS 30 1924 41.
<3>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 20-MAR-63.
<4>OS Card Reference: The Church of St Clement Old Romney 1983 (A Roper).
<5>OS Card Reference: DOE(HHR) Dist of Shepway Kent April 1985 47-48.
<6>OS Card Reference: Bldgs of Eng - W Kent and the Weald 1980 441-442 (J Newman).
<7>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 37 1925 200-202 (FC Elliston Enwood).
<8>OS Card Reference: Arch Cant 13 1880 408-418 (S Robertson).
<9>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TR 02 NW 5 - March, 1963.
<10>Unpublished document: Tim Tatton-Brown. 1993. Church Survey - St Clements Church..
<11>Unpublished document: Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown). 1993. Old Romney, St Clement: Diocesan church survey.
<12>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #32491 Church, ]